Q&A With Equestrian Senior Madison Wayda

A two-time team captain, Wayda has been looked to as a leader both in and out of the arena during her years with the K-State equestrian team.  She has led the Wildcats to a No. 2 National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) ranking this season, the highest in program history.
With four meets under her belt competing in both equitation on the flat and in equitation over fences, the Simi Valley, California, native is now 6-2 during the fall season. She received her first Most Outstanding Performer (MOP) honor of the fall season in an 80-63, equitation on the flat win over Alabama's Avery Warner on October 11. Overall, she has a collective 48-45-1 career record and a total of 12 MOP honors.
Undefeated at home in 2014, the No. 2 K-State equestrian team returns to Timbercreek Stables on Saturday, Nov. 8, for a matchup against No. 7 Oklahoma State beginning at 10 a.m., and admission is free to all.  
This weekend's meet will mark the final home competition of K-State's fall schedule. To check out more on Saturday's home meet, click here.
Here is what Wayda had to say to K-State Sports Extra: 
SE: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your role with the K-State equestrian team.
MW: I am from Southern California, this is my senior year, and final year, sadly, and I am a second year captain. I show hunt seat and have had the opportunity to show in both equitation over fences and equitation on the flat. I have loved every second of it.
SE: Moving to Kansas from California, that's got to be an adjustment. How different has it been to you and what are some of the biggest differences between here and California?
MW: The weather is a huge thing. I'm not really looking forward to the winter. I was really lucky both my freshman and sophomore year that we didn't have terrible winters, but I'm kind of dreading this one because I have heard that it's going to be bad, but it's been a really great experience being away from home being in a different atmosphere, a different culture. It's been a great learning experience and a great opportunity.
SE: This team has been very successful at home this season. What is it about riding here at Timbercreek Stables that really has pushed you guys to home success?
MW: The energy that we have here is great. It's nice to have our entire team here. When we travel, we only take about 20 or so girls. So at home, we have our entire team behind us and cheering. Feeling that energy and power makes it hard for other teams to come here, and I think they get intimidated by how much confidence we have and how much support we give each other.
SE: What goes into setting up for a home meet?
MW: We start early. We get here about 5:30 a.m. We braid the horses, we lunge them - run them around in a little circles - we ride the horses and we get everything ready for the day to start. Competition usually starts around 9 or 10. So it takes a lot to put on a home meet.
SE: And of course, I know you guys have gotten this question a lot, but when you do travel for competition, do you bring your horses with you?
MW: No, that would be interesting, especially when we travel to Fresno to put them on the plane!  We ride the horses wherever we go and compete, and it's the same thing with the girls that come here. It's kind of a random draw, a girl from their team and a girl from our team will be randomly assigned a horse, you get four minutes to get used to that horse, then you go out and show it. So it's completely random and we don't know who we're going to ride.
SE: Your team seems to be a pretty close-knit group. What do you think is the best part about this year's roster?
MW: Like you said, we're an extremely close-knit group and every one of these girls I know would have my back in a heartbeat. We can go to each other for anything; it's like a huge family.
SE: To you, what is the best part about being a student-athlete at K-State?
MW: Probably all the perks you get. It's wonderful to be able to have (Ahearn Fund Student-Athlete) Performance Table and not to have to cook at night. It's great to have the tutoring and printing. Just to have it on your resume, people admire that and realize how much work it takes to be both a student and an athlete. It's definitely worth it.
SE: When you're not in the arena riding, what is something people can find you doing?
MW: Studying. (Wayda laughs)
SE: What are you majoring in here at K-State?
MW: I'm an animal science major with a minor in business and it's been great. We dissected a cow brain yesterday, and that was really interesting, but it's great because it's a lot of hands on and being able to actually apply what you're learning in real life situations.
SE: What are your goals for your final year here at K-State?
MW: Being my senior year, I just want to enjoy every minute of it, take in everything I can and embrace it all because I know I'll never have these four years again.
SE: Has the time gone by fast for you?
MW: Oh my gosh, incredibly fast.

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